David Donohue edged Timo Bernhard by just 0.001 seconds to capture pole position for the 47th Rolex 24 At Daytona, breaking the Daytona Prototype track record in the process.
Donohue turned in a lap of 1min 40.540secs in the #58 Brumos Porsche Riley he will share with Darren Law, Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia, with Bernhard at the wheel of Penske Racing's #16 Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Porsche Riley, turning a lap of 1min 50.541secs in the Daytona Prototype he shares with Romain Dumas and Ryan Briscoe.
"Actually, winning the pole was a bit of a surprise," Donohue said. "We had a bit of a problem with traffic on what I thought was my fastest lap. We were having an electrical gremlin, so I didn't know how quick I was running. The team told me I was P1, but I didn't know by how much and what to do with the tyres. But I said it before, all that counts is where you are at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday."
Donohue joins his father, the late Mark Donohue, as a pole winner of the event. The elder Donohue won the pole for Penske Racing in 1971. The pair join Dan and Alex Gurney as father-son pole winners for America's most prestigious sports car race.
While Donohue wasn't sure of his position in qualifying, Bernhard thought he was atop the charts.
"I knew I put down a pretty good lap, and when they give me the time I thought it would be good enough for the pole," he said. "Then they told me it was very close, but I was second, but by that time my tyres were done. It was a great result for Penske Racing. It's a new series for us in Grand-Am, and we're already very competitive. Looking at it that way, P2 is a very good result."
Starting from the second row will be Michael Valiante in the #6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley, and Richard Zonta in the #76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola.
Scott Pruett, seeking a third consecutive victory in the Rolex 24 and fourth in a row for TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, will start sixth after running a lap of 1min 41.016secs in the #01 Lexus Riley.
"That's about what we expected to run in qualifying," said Pruett. "For 24 hours, it's not going to make a difference. The Ganassi guys have done a great job, as always, and we've got a great car for the race. With a little bit of luck, the TELMEX #01 car will be fighting for the victory at the end."
Alex Gurney, the 2007 Rolex 24 pole winner, will start 11th in the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley co-driven by three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, Jon Fogarty and Jimmy Vasser.